Owl chicks killed by farm vandals

VANDALS have smashed up a barn owl box, killing three chicks.

A family farm in Brothertoft was targeted with windows and machinery smashed, doors broken-in and the owl nesting box smashed down off its post.

The farmer, who did not want to be identified, said: “I’m shocked that vandals around here are dropping to such levels that they would attack defenceless baby birds.

“The vandalism and cost of the damage is one thing – but I was seriously upset about the owl chicks.”

The wild birds have been nesting at the family farm for more than 10 years. They have now put the mended box back up, in the hope the adults will return to nest again.

“Our farm has been targeted three times this year already mainly for scrap metal,” he said. “But this is the first time it has been so mindlessly vandalised.

“We have had to upgrade our security system to protect not only our business but our home life too.”

The incident took place over night on May 22, with vandals breaking through the security gates.

It is believed they made a ladder to get up to the owl box.

The chicks were found the following day, scattered on the floor, as though the box had been kicked about.

The farmer said: “Why would they pick on one of the most gracious farmland birds this country has – especially as it’s completely defenceless, just to relieve their boredom?”

“Boston is on a downward slide. It is not just the inner town life that has deteriorated, but the surrounding areas as well.”

He added: “Farmers all over the country are finding themselves in a vulnerable position where they are being constantly targeted by scrap metal or vehicle or diesel thieves – and it is only getting worse.”

Lincolnshire Police wildlife crime officer Pc Dave Brennan said: “Barn owls are a protected species under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and anyone who interferes with a nest, whether or not it results in the death of a bird, may face a penalty of a fine up to £5,000 and/or six months in prison.”

He added: “Any incident of criminal damage or vandalism to property is taken very seriously by police – but this particular offence, resulting in harm to vulnerable wild birds, is especially shocking and we would appeal to anyone with information to contact Lincolnshire Police”.

l Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Boston Police by dialling 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.